The fifth Doctor, Peter Davison, kicks off the 2019 Big Finish main range with Devil In The Mist and it’s the first appearance on audio for Kamelion (voiced by Jon Culshaw). For those who don’t know, Kamelion was a shape-shifting robot who appeared in a small number of Doctor Who episodes in the 1980s originally voiced by the late Gerald Flood. He was originally under the mental influence of the Master, an idea further explored in this story.
Devil In The Mist also marks a rare return for writer Cavan Scott, who takes the TARDIS crew of Tegan, Turlough and Kamelion to a prison ship holding but one prisoner: Nustanu (Simon Slater) of the Zamglitti, a mind-controlling shape changer able to turn his body to mist. Handy when the ship crashes on a planet full of mist.
The ship is crewed by Orna (Anjella Mackintosh) and Rako (John Voce) who are warlike hippo shaped aliens and add further tension to a situation that gets from bad to worse as the crash separates the players into two groups and Nustanu has escaped from his cell adding to the threat already posed by the indigenous creatures.
There’s a lot to like about this story. Tegan (Janet Fielding) is magnificent as ever and while her relationship with Turlough (Mar Strickson) is on relatively steady ground, it’s more than fair to say she does not like Kamelion at all. It’s one of the narrative threads running through this tale of hardship and distrust as all face challenges, both mental and physical.
While the appeal of shape-shifters on audio can be limited by the medium, Cavan focuses on Kamelion’s other talents, including a bond with the TARDIS systems and a liability when it comes to mental domination. All the way from crash to resolution, there’s plenty of threat, plenty of confusion and chances for heroism. Add the sound design and music of Andy Hardwick, and Ken Bentley’s taut direction, and Devil In The Mist grips the listener from the first scene to the final.
The 2019 main range is off to a great start!